Pilot & Feasibility Program

The primary objective of the Pilot & Feasibility Grant Program is to support the development of innovative research in nutrition and obesity. The program is specifically designed to help investigators collect preliminary data sufficient enough to support a grant application for independent research support and published work.

Since the inception of our P&F Program in 1999, the NORC has awarded $2,341,927 to 58 investigators to support new and innovative research in nutrition and obesity. Based on their P&F pilot data, our awardees have received $42.2 million in external research support.

Project Criteria
Pilot & Feasibility (P&F) projects may be biomedical, epidemiological, clinical or translational. They may include laboratory or non-laboratory research projects that focus either on human nutrition or on animal work that could be translated to human nutrition. Human nutrition projects may focus on inpatient or outpatient studies or on epidemiological/community-based research that is social or behavioral in nature.

Applicant Eligibility
The applicants must be a faculty member at UNC-CH who is a (1) a new investigator without current or past NIH research support (R01, P01 or R24) as a PD/PI, or (2) an established, funded investigator with no previous work experience in nutritional sciences, and/or obesity who wishes to test the applicability of their expertise to a nutritional science and/or obesity-related problem.

The NORC funds 1-year grants up to $20,000. The actual amount of the award and number of awards made will depend upon the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funding. Expenditures may begin at any time after the project’s start date (April 1st); however, the entire award should be expended within one year of receipt. Renewal for a second year of funding is possible for meritorious projects that have made appropriate progress during the first year. P&F funding is not intended for the extension of projects for which it would be appropriate to submit a research project grant application. Funds are also not intended to support or supplement ongoing research projects.

norc_pf progress table

Figure 1. Dollars Spent vs. Grant Support Received

Application Process
Applicants must submit a pre-proposal application form and an NIH-style biosketch to the selection committee. The pre-proposal should exactly follow the format that is given on the application form. Pre-proposals are limited to one page and should be written in Ariel 11 font. Please send the requested documentation to Michelle Collins via email.  The review committee will evaluate the pre-proposals and notify all applicants of their decision. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Applications for the 2016 funding cycle are due by the close of business on Friday, October 16, 2015.

Full Applications
Applicants are required to use the NIH PHS 398 grant forms where appropriate. Proposals must be five pages, single-spaced and use an approved 11 point, NIH font type (Arial, Helvetica, Palatino or Georgia). A complete application package should include the following items:

•  Application cover sheet
•  Scientific and lay abstracts
•  Research plan
•  Budget & budget justification
•  Biosketch & other support
•  Letter(s) of support

P&F Awardees

2014 Awardees

Kyle Burger, RD, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
Project: Reward Region Plasticity to Regular Beverage Intake: An fMRI Experiment

Nigel Mackman, PhD, FAHA
Professor, School of Medicine
Project:Role of Macrophage Tissue Factor in Diet Induced Obesity

Saskia Neher, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Project: Search for a Conserved Binding Motif among LPL Inhibitors

Maya Styner, MD
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
Project: Response of Marrow Adipose Compartment to Diet and Exercise

2013 Awardees

Melissa Bauserman, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of of Pediatrics
Project: Determining the etiology of early infant stunting

Brian Bennett, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of  Genetics
Project: High resolution genetic mapping of trimethylamine N-oxide, a novel metabolite associated with atherosclerosis

Shawn Gomez, EngScD
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Project: Systems biology of metabolism and metabolic networks

Amanda Thompson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Project: The development of the intestinal microbiome and SFCA production in Chinese infants

Contact Us

Rosalind A. Coleman, MD
Associate Director/Director of P&F Program
2301 Michael Hooker Research Center
Campus Box 7461
(919) 966-7213

Contact Dr. Coleman for specific questions regarding the P&F Program.

Michelle Collins, MPA
Managing Director
2115 Michael Hooker Research Center
Campus Box 7461
(919) 966-3474

Contact Ms. Collins for general questions regarding the P&F Program.